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  • Wed, Apr 8 2009
  • 9:58 AM » Pulte to buy rival Centex for $1.3 billion
    Published Wed, Apr 08 2009 9:58 AM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pulte Homes, the fourth-largest U.S. homebuilder, said it would buy the third largest, Centex Corp, for $1.3 billion in stock as it looks to save costs and get through the housing downturn.
  • 9:58 AM » Bernanke's Deflation Preventing Scorecard
    Published Wed, Apr 08 2009 9:58 AM by Google News
    In case no one is keeping track, Bernanke has now fired every bullet from his 2002 “ helicopter drop ” speech . Bernanke's Scorecard Here is Bernanke’s roadmap, and a “point-by-point” list from that speech. 1. Reduce nominal interest rate to zero. Check. That didn’t work... 2. Increase the number of dollars in circulation, or credibly threaten to do so. Check. That didn’t work... 3. Expand the scale of asset purchases or, possibly, expand the menu of assets it buys. Check & check. That didn’t work... 4. Make low-interest-rate loans to banks. Check. That didn’t work... 5. Cooperate with fiscal authorities to inject more money. Check. That didn’t work... 6. Lower rates further out along the Treasury term structure. Check. That didn’t work... 7. Commit to holding the overnight rate at zero for some specified period. Check. That didn’t work... 8. Begin announcing explicit ceilings for yields on longer-maturity Treasury debt (bonds maturing within the next two years); enforce interest-rate ceilings by committing to make unlimited purchases of securities at prices consistent with the targeted yields. Check, and check. That didn’t work... 9. If that proves insufficient, cap yields of Treasury securities at still longer maturities, say three to six years. Check (they’re buying out to 7 years right now.) That didn’t work... 10. Use its existing authority to operate in the markets for agency debt. Check (in fact, they “own” the agency debt market!) That didn’t work... 11. Influence yields on privately issued securities. (Note: the Fed used to be restricted in doing that, but not anymore.) Check. That didn’t work... 12. Offer fixed-term loans to banks at low or zero interest, with a wide range of private assets deemed eligible as collateral (…Well, I’m still waiting for them to accept bellybutton lint & Beanie Babies, but I’m sure my patience will be rewarded. Besides their “mark-to-maturity” offers will be more than enticing!) Anyway… Check. That didn’t work... 13...
  • 9:47 AM » Bail Out for Dummies
    Published Wed, Apr 08 2009 9:47 AM by
    Zero Hedge believes it is a civic duty to represent the total melange of assorted concepts and alphabet soups in the ongoing debacle that is the Bail Out in a comprehensible and easily understandable context as the decisions the administration is making will have generational consequences. Therefore, I am presenting a view of the players, the mechanisms and the core of the Bail Out problem in a way that will be much easier to be comprehended by most interested parties. The conclusion is frightening.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:41 AM » Geithner's Stress Test "A Complete Sham," Former Federal Bank Regulator Says
    Published Wed, Apr 08 2009 9:41 AM by
    The bank stress tests currently underway are “a complete sham,” says William Black, a former senior bank regulator and S&L prosecutor, and currently an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. “It’s a Potemkin model. Built to fool people.” Like many others, Black believes the “worst case scenario” used in the stress test don’t go far enough.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:38 AM » FED: Richard Fisher Speech
    Published Wed, Apr 08 2009 9:38 AM by
    Remarks before the Japan Center for Economic Research, Institute for International Monetary Affairs and Japanese Bankers Association.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • Tue, Apr 7 2009
  • 10:16 PM » Real-Estate Industry Pushes Fed on TALF
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 10:16 PM by WSJ
    The real-estate industry is lobbying the Fed for modifications to a bailout program that the industry said may avert a wave of commercial-property defaults.
  • 10:16 PM » Mortgage Wipeout
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 10:16 PM by WSJ
    Thornburg Mortgage's bankruptcy filing is likely to wipe out a $475 million investment by New York private-equity firm MatlinPatterson Global Advisers.
  • 10:00 PM » Joint response from Chairman Bernanke and President Dudley to Congressional Oversight Panel's inquiry into TALF
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 10:00 PM by NY Fed
    Joint response from Chairman Bernanke and President Dudley to Congressional Oversight Panel's inquiry into TALF
  • 10:00 PM » Market bear Roubini sticks to dour forecasts
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 10:00 PM by Reuters
    TORONTO (Reuters) - There's still bad news ahead for the U.S. economy and the bear market for stocks is not over yet, according to a prominent economist who foretold much of the current turmoil.
  • 10:00 PM » Sublease Space Jumps in Manhattan
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 10:00 PM by WSJ
    Manhattan's office sublease space is near a five-year high, one of several statistics detailing pain in the nation's financial capital.
  • 3:42 PM » Banks brace for derivatives 'big bang'
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 3:42 PM by CNN
    One corner of the wild and wooly world of derivatives is about to get a little tamer -- and not a moment too soon for those who fret over the rising cost of bailouts.
  • 3:42 PM » Text of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's April 7 speech
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 3:42 PM by Market Watch
    Here is the full text of the speech that Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group, delivered before the Council of Institutional Investors' spring 2009 meeting on April 7 in Washington.
  • 3:42 PM » Source: Bank 'stress test' results delayed
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 3:42 PM by CNN
    Read full story for latest details.
  • 2:06 PM » Mortgage Delinquencies Double from Year Earlier: Equifax
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 2:06 PM by
    Mortgage delinquencies more than doubled from a year ago, according to credit reporting bureau Equifax. In February, seven percent of homeowners with mortgages were at least 30 days late, up more than 50 percent from the same period a year earlier. The delinquency rate for subprime borrowers increased to 39.8 percent from 23.7 percent last year, meaning [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:31 AM » Second Lien Mortgage Assistance Program Coming Soon
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 11:31 AM by
    The U.S. Treasury is reportedly finalizing a plan that would make it easier to provide assistance to borrowers with second mortgages, which often impede loan workout and refinance efforts. An official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said guidelines will soon be unveiled that aim to either modify or extinguish pesky second liens. When Treasury [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:30 AM » Rising Mortgage Delinquencies Signal No Bottom Yet
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 11:30 AM by CNBC
    Posted By: Reuters More U.S. consumers are falling behind on their mortgages, an indication that the housing market has yet to hit bottom, a top credit bureau executive told Reuters. Topics: | | | MEDIA:
  • 11:29 AM » RBS to shed 9,000 jobs worldwide
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 11:29 AM by
    Royal Bank of Scotland, which is majority owned by the taxpayer, has announced the reduction of 9,000 jobs in its call centres, property division and technology group
  • 11:29 AM » IMF to warn on spiraling toxic debt: report
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 11:29 AM by Reuters
    TOKYO (Reuters) - Toxic debts racked up by banks and insurers could spiral to $4 trillion, new forecasts from the International Monetary Fund are set to suggest, British daily The Times reported on its website without citing sources.
  • 11:29 AM » Citigroup chairman: bankers being 'vilified'
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 11:29 AM by Washington Post
    HONOLULU -- Citigroup Inc.'s new board chairman, Richard Parsons, said financial institutions are being targeted for creating the nation's financial crisis, but they aren't the only ones responsible.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 10:11 AM » Fed Minutes Look Back, Not Ahead
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 10:11 AM by WSJ
    From today’s column: Signs of nascent optimism have scattered across the economy in recent weeks, from better-than-expected housing starts to retail sales that surprised prognosticators. But don’t expect to see much of that reflected in the latest Federal Open Market Committee minutes the Federal Reserve releases Wednesday. Instead, Fed watchers will parse the minutes for better understanding of the Fed’s decision to expand its balance sheet by buying a variety of securities, including long-term Treasurys, an unorthodox policy. “This will be the most comprehensive view of the decision,” says Lou Crandall , chief economist at Wrightson ICAP , a research firm analyzing Federal Reserve operations. “Some FOMC members in public have made the pitch for planned balance-sheet expansion, as opposed to having the size of the balance sheet be a byproduct of the various initiatives to support the markets.” For investors more concerned about today’s economy, these minutes mightn’t offer a contemporary view. The minutes chronicle the Fed’s March meeting, colored by lousy economic news during January and February. “We saw glimmers of hope in March,” says Larry Meyer , vice chairman at Macroeconomic Advisers . Speeches by Fed pooh-bahs might show more about current views. Friday, Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn warned of continued stress in financial markets.
  • Mon, Apr 6 2009
  • 1:50 PM » Warsh, The Panic of 2008
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 1:50 PM by Federal Reserve
    Speech at the Council of Institutional Investors 2009 Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 12:31 PM » A Hope Now employee says, “There is no hope for homeowners.”
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 12:31 PM by
    Hope Now Employee - I would have to agree not to call HOPE. I actually work there. From the day I started I felt so guilty because there is no help. I feel HOPE was set in place for people to leave the banks alone. We are like an escape goat for the banks. I [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:28 AM » Fannie Mae Refinance Volume Highest Since 2003
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 11:28 AM by
    It’s like the mortgage refinancing boom (that led to this mess) all over again. Mortgage financier Fannie Mae said refinance demand last month hit its highest point since 2003, with skyrocketing volume of $77 billion in March. That’s nearly twice the refinance volume experienced in February and more than five times the amount in January, thanks to [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:45 AM » Former California Homeowners Lash Out at Builder
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:45 AM by
    A major home builder that helped fuel the country’s building boom is now under attack for what some homeowners and builders say was its role in the bust that followed.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:42 AM » Treasury Department Provides Updated Guidance on Legacy Securities Public-Private Investment Program
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:42 AM by US Treasury
    As part of an ongoing effort to refine the guidelines and enhance the effectiveness of the Financial Stability Plan programs, the Treasury Department today released additional guidance for potential investors in the securities portion of the Public Private Investment Program (PPIP).
  • 10:41 AM » What to Watch: Fed’s Warsh to Address Financial Crisis
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:41 AM by WSJ
    Federal Reserve governor Kevin Warsh gives a speech at 1 p.m. today in Washington at the Council of Institutional Investors spring meetings, and fields questions afterwards. It’s his first speech since . At that time, he said, “I see more promise than peril over the horizon.” Warsh A lot has happened since — including Warsh not being picked to succeed Timothy Geithner as president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank . Warsh, whose speeches bear his distinctive style as opposed to the cautious writing of career Fed staffers, is likely to touch on recent developments in financial markets and the economy as well as the debate over maintaining the rule of law at a time of a crisis and public outrage. Warsh, 38 years old, worked in the Bush White House until 2006 when he was named to the Fed shortly after Ben Bernanke became chairman. A former Morgan Stanley investment bankers, he has been a player in the Fed’s rescues of various financial institutions. Warsh’s term extends to 2018, if he decides to stick around that long.
  • 10:41 AM » John Hancock Tower Foreclosure Sale, a 65% Haircut In 3 Years
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:41 AM by Google News
    Commercial property values are down a lot more than people realize, especially when considering the implied value of financing. Please consider . March 31, 2009 10:33 AM - The John Hancock Tower was sold today for $660.6 million at a foreclosure auction in New York City. The signature Back Bay building was acquired by a partnership between Normandy Real Estate Partners and Five Mile Capital Partners. The partnership was the only entity to bid for the Hancock during the auction, which lasted less than 10 minutes. The firms initiated foreclosure after the Hancock's previous owner, Broadway Partners of New York, defaulted on some of the loans it used to buy property for $1.3 billion in late 2006. This property sold for $1.3 billion in 2006 and $935 million in 2003. Today's price is $660 million, a 50% haircut. But that's only part of the story. A friend writes " Don't forget the value of the financing that Normandy now gets to assume: $640 million mortgage at a rate of 5.6%. " Assuming the building is worth $660, Normandy managed to get 97% financing on an enormous sum of money, at a rate impossible to get in this market, at least starting from scratch. Financing 97% now on that size a loan would entail combined rates at 11% or higher. The value of that cheap financing might be worth $190 million or more. Thus the real price the Hancock sold at foreclosure is more like $470 million not $660 million. That is a 65% haircut in three years. Mike "Mish" Shedlock Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
  • 10:41 AM » Bubbles and depressions
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:41 AM by
    In this in today's Wall Street Journal, economists Steven Gjerstad and Vernon Smith offer a theory about why we could again be going from a bubble into a depression. Over the years, there have been quite a few bubbles, but not all of them cause the sort of economy-wide damage that was seen in the 1930s or over the last year or so. Why? Why does one crash cause minimal damage to the financial system, so that the economy can pick itself up quickly, while another crash leaves a devastated financial sector in the wreckage? The hypothesis we propose is that a financial crisis that originates in consumer debt, especially consumer debt concentrated at the low end of the wealth and income distribution, can be transmitted quickly and forcefully into the financial system. It appears that we're witnessing the second great consumer debt crash, the end of a massive consumption binge. Most people forget that it wasn't just a stock market bubble in 1929 that led to America's last lost decade. There was an enormous housing and credit bubble in the mid-1920s during which Groucho Marx and others lost a good deal of money on Florida swampland. As has been the case thoughout history, you can't get a really good bubble going until you get broad participation from the public - preferably lots of people at the lower end of the socio-economic scale levered up courtesy of a banking system that is gushing with easy money. That pretty much described the situation in the 1920s and in the 2000s. The entire piece is worth a look as they go through the recent history of financial bubbles in the U.S., a sequence that really accelerated about 20 years ago when you-know-who started sitting in the big chair at the Federal Reserve boardroom. Interestingly, they touch on one of my all-time favorite subjects since this blog began a few years ago - how owners' equivalent rent duped the Fed. During the 1976-79 and 1986-89 housing price bubbles, the effective federal-funds interest rate...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:26 AM » Government debt prices rally
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:26 AM by CNN
    Government debt prices were mostly higher Monday as stocks opened lower and investors awaited the next round of purchasing from the Federal Reserve.
  • 10:26 AM » TARP Watchdog Calls for Bank Management Changes
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:26 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From The Obersver: (ht several!) Elizabeth Warren, chief watchdog of America's $700bn (£472bn) bank bailout plan, will this week call for the removal of top executives from Citigroup, AIG and other institutions ... "The very notion that anyone would infuse money into a financially troubled entity without demanding changes in management is preposterous." The report will also look at how earlier crises were overcome - the Swedish and Japanese problems of the 1990s, the US savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and the 30s Depression. "Three things had to happen," Warren said. "Firstly, the banks must have confidence that the valuation of the troubled assets in question is accurate; then the management of the institutions receiving subsidies from the government must be replaced; and thirdly, the equity investors are always wiped out."
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • Sat, Apr 4 2009
  • 6:37 PM » Lawmaker sees Fannie, Freddie bonus "insult"
    Published Sat, Apr 04 2009 6:37 PM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Continuing bonuses paid to employees at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offensive since taxpayers are helping keep the mortgage-finance companies afloat, a leading Senate Republican said on Friday.
  • Fri, Apr 3 2009
  • 4:35 PM » Texas Instruments sues banks over $524 million debt
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 4:35 PM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Texas Instruments Inc has sued Citigroup Inc , Morgan Stanley and Bank of New York Mellon Corp , accusing the banks of misleading the chipmaker into buying $524 million of auction-rate securities that have become illiquid.
  • 4:34 PM » Fannie, Freddie regulator stands behind bonuses
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 4:34 PM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Ongoing bonuses paid to employees at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offensive since taxpayers are helping keep the mortgage-finance companies afloat, a leading Senate Republican said on Friday.
  • 4:34 PM » Bair pitches hedge funds on bank plan
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 4:34 PM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, is in New York on Friday to meet with hedge funds, private equity funds and pension groups to promote the government's plan to cleanse banks' balance sheets of toxic assets, a source familiar with the meeting said on Friday.
  • 4:34 PM » Fed 'extremely uncomfortable' about bailouts
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 4:34 PM by Washington Post
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- While acknowledging that the Federal Reserve was "extremely uncomfortable" about last year's bailouts of big financial companies, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday the central bank's strategy to ease the financial crisis is working.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 2:59 PM » Bernanke, The Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 2:59 PM by Federal Reserve
    Speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond 2009 Credit Markets Symposium, Charlotte, North Carolina
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 2:59 PM » New York Fed purchases $2.672 billion in agency coupons
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 2:59 PM by NY Fed
    New York Fed purchases $2.672 billion in agency coupons
  • 10:34 AM » U.S. Office Vacancies Hit 15.2% -- and Rising
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 10:34 AM by WSJ
    The office vacancy rate nationwide rose to 15.2% in the first quarter and likely will surpass 19.3% over the next year, a tracking firm said.
  • 10:34 AM » Property Bust Threatens Condo 'Death Spiral'
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 10:34 AM by CNBC
    Posted By: Reuters Florida's condominium and homeowners' associations are facing what experts call a trickle-down disaster from the property crisis. Dozens and perhaps hundreds of condo buildings have budget shortfalls as thousands of owners, under water on their mortgages or in foreclosure, stop paying monthly fees. Topics: | | | | MEDIA:
  • 9:54 AM » The Radicalization of Ben Bernanke
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 9:54 AM by Washington Post
    Bernanke has become the country's economist in chief, the banker for the United States and perhaps the world, and has employed every weapon in the Federal Reserve's arsenal. He has overseen the broadest use of the Fed's powers since World War II, and the regulation proposals working their way through Congress seem likely to empower the institution even further. Although his actions may be justified under today's circumstances, Bernanke's willingness to pump money into the economy risks unleashing the most serious bout of U.S. inflation since the early 1980s, in a nation already battered by rising unemployment and negative growth.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
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